ATLANTA - Sonny Perdue couldn't raise $5 million during 18 months as a candidate for governor but hauled in $1.3 million in just eight weeks as governor-elect, according to figures his staff released Friday.
Mr. Perdue's paltry campaign fund raising was one reason he surprised pundits who figured he couldn't buy enough television advertising to overcome a Democratic incumbent with a $20 million war chest.
Savvy observers noticed that most of the state's major business interests contributed to Gov. Roy Barnes' re-election bid instead of customarily giving to the Republican Mr. Perdue.
Mr. Perdue joked about it when he gave his first speech to a large business audience the day after taking the oath. After the effusive introduction to 3,000 members of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Perdue quipped, "I feel like the younger son you never thought would amount to much."
The executives of the state's largest companies might have made amends by contributing to the cost of Mr. Perdue's transition staff and his inaugural celebration.
Mr. Perdue's staff released figures of how much was contributed and by whom from the Nov. 5 election until Dec. 31. A complete accounting and independent audit will be released next month.
"We're working and paying bills now, so that's not complete," said Alec Pointevint, who contributed his time to be co-chairman of the inauguration. He said enough money has already been raised to cover the remaining bills.
Mr. Perdue can't pocket any leftover money, and he can't give it to his re-election campaign, said Fred Cooper, who oversaw fund raising during the transition. But he hasn't decided what he would do with any surplus.
The state treasury could use it, with a $620 million shortfall Mr. Perdue announced last week. To keep from making the situation worse, he followed recent custom in raising private funds for his transition rather than relying on the taxpayer funds available.
The largest donors got six tickets to the inauguration party, but they were promised nothing, Mr. Cooper said.
"I don't know what the motivation of each contributor was, but it is very normal for a wide range of citizens to make contributions to the transition," he said. If they were hoping their donations would curry favor with a candidate they had previously slighted, Mr. Cooper quipped, "That won't do them any good."
Here is a list of the donors who contributed the $50,000 maximum that Gov. Sonny Perdue set during fund raising for his expenses during the transition and inauguration:
Source: Gov.-elect Sonny Perdue's transitional office
Reach Walter Jones at (404) 589-8424 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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